Like many busy pet parents, I strive to carve out time to take my pup, Zoe, on dog-friendly adventures. Growing up in an outdoorsy family, my childhood was filled with hiking and road trips. I couldn’t wait to recreate some of those memories with my own fur kid. That’s why when we were given the opportunity to unplug for a weekend through cabin rental company Getaway, I already was halfway laced into my hiking boots!
I’ve always heard of people traveling to Upstate New York, but I’ve never visited it for myself. That all changed in spring 2019 when I got a chance to stay at Getaway’s cabin in the Catskill Mountains.
Getaway offers dog-friendly cabins within driving distance of New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Portland, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Coming soon, Getaway will also offer cabins near Los Angeles and Dallas. They really make it easy to take a relaxing trip with your dog without having to worry whether the accommodations are pet friendly. Plus, there is plenty of outdoor space for dogs to play and small towns just waiting to be explored.
Joined by my co-worker Danielle and her dog, Sawyer, we set our out-of-office messages and headed north to disconnect from our “always-on” mentality and focus on scenic views and fresh mountain air.
Dog-Friendly Cabin Getaway to Catskill, NY: Day 1
We started the trip out to the cabin on a Friday morning. It was much more relaxing than our typical Friday morning commute to the office, that’s for sure.
The misty weather made for a picturesque 120-mile drive north while our road trip soundtrack played and fresh air whipped through the car windows. The dogs enjoyed snoozing in the backseat, and Zoe even took it upon herself to create her own bed out of my jacket.
For anxious four-legged travelers, calming treats can definitely come in handy, especially on longer drives, and we always keep them on hand. I just wish that I had brought Zoe’s bed along with us for the trek up north.
Once we arrived at our dog-friendly cabin, the dogs couldn’t have been more excited to explore, and we led them around the property (or, better said, they led us) before we made our way to our small and cozy accommodations.
We were pleasantly surprised by the fresh smell of wood when we each entered our cabins, and the beautiful bay window brightened the entire space. The queen-sized bed was lined with freshly-laundered sheets, and a small s’mores kit and note welcomed us to our home-away-from-home for the next few days.
There was a small kitchenette stocked with all cooking essentials, a small pantry with snacks for purchase, and a private bathroom with a shower that had shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
After dropping off our bags (see what we packed for our trip here), we hopped back in the car and headed north to Albany, New York, for a cup of coffee and an early lunch. We didn’t originally plan on visiting Albany, but since we had never been there and we were so close, our inner explorers convinced us to tackle the state capital.
After a quick coffee refuel at Stacks Espresso Bar—a local, dog-friendly coffee shop with an assortment of teas and coffee, pastries and even a variety of milk alternatives—we explored the city by foot and paw.
Many of the restaurants, shops and cafes in Albany welcome leashed and well-behaved pups, and this quaint state capital had plenty for us to explore! We made our way down historic Lark Street where the old storefronts and brownstones reminded us of New York City. Then we headed toward the iconic New York State Education Department Building, which opened in 1912. We didn’t get a chance to go into the building, but we marveled at the 90-foot tall marble pillars that run along the front. The dogs enjoyed playing with us in the nearby grassy park before we made our way to Iron Gate Café for a bite to eat.
Located right next door to the 1890’s Holroyd Mansion brownstone, Iron Gate offers fresh food and vegan options along with a cute, dog-friendly outdoor courtyard. It was a lovely dining experience with two well-behaved pups, though it may have been a bit more difficult with larger or louder pups as patrons must walk by the outdoor seating to enter the restaurant.
I ordered the “Vermonster” sandwich—a turkey sandwich with cheddar cheese, apple, lettuce and a maple-walnut spread—and Danielle got a buddha bowl made with roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, spinach, broccoli, quinoa and tofu. We got halfway through our lunch before it started to rain.
We packed up our food, grabbed the dogs and tried to make it to the car before the rain picked up. Pet parenting isn’t perfect, but it creates perfect moments. We finished our meal in the tight confines of the car, laughing at our pups’ muddy paws and our messy hairdos, before heading back south.
Lucky for us, the springtime showers were short-lived, and the rain passed over us within the hour. So, we continued with our plans to explore Kaaterskill Falls.
The best way to Kaaterskill Falls is by foot. It’s a moderately easy dog-friendly hike that took us about 2 hours, round trip.
We left our car at the parking lot on NY-23A, just around the corner from the hike’s trailhead. A smaller waterfall at the start served as a sneak peek to the humbling and breathtaking view we’d find up ahead. Though steep and rocky in parts, the 2.5-mile hike was well worth the views. The two-stage, cascading waterfall—the highest in the state of New York—marked the trail’s finish and provided an opportunity for us to rest and enjoy our accomplishment.
Zoe and Sawyer were absolute troopers. I would definitely recommend this hike to pet parents with dogs who are used to exploring the great outdoors, but keep a close eye on smaller dogs as their paws could slip and get stuck between some of the rocks. If you go, bring along lots of extra water for your four-legged hikers and take breaks along the way to give them a moment to catch their breath (and yours, too!)
After our hike, we headed to a nearby (cash-only) Chinese restaurant, Fortune Garden, to pick up some takeout to bring back to our cabins. We fed our dogs their own feast before sitting down to our dinner. Sweet and sour chicken and Dr. Pepper had never been a better, or more satisfying, pair.
Once all mouths were fed, we started a campfire to enjoy dessert: the s’mores kit that was waiting for us when we arrived at our cabins. Even with well-mannered pups, I would recommend keeping them on a short leash to prevent them from wandering too close to the fire (and the s’mores ingredients—chocolate is toxic to dogs!). As we roasted marshmallows, Danielle and I talked about the busy day’s events. Before we knew it, it was late and time for us and our pups to retire to our cabins for some well-deserved sleep.
Dog-Friendly Cabin Getaway to Catskill, NY: Day 2
The next morning, waking up to an oversized window peering into the pines was like a breath of fresh air compared to the view (and blaring alarm) that I’m used to! Zoe took her time crawling out of the fluffy comforter while I whipped up a quick and easy Chewy Eats DIY trail mix bar to bring along on our hike of the day.
While the treats set in our in-cabin fridge, we all went for a walk around the cabin grounds to take in the scenery and serenity. The walk was quite quiet and calm, and the excited snorts and paw rustles of the dogs filled the air. We didn’t see many other people along the paths near the cabins, but there were some fellow guests in the distance moving into their home-away-from-home for the weekend with a furry, four-legged family member. We waved in camaraderie to the dog parents before returning to our cabins to get ready for the day.
This cute, little market has a small outdoor-seating section that is perfect for furry adventurers, and the sweet and savory options are an ideal way to start any day. We enjoyed a toasted turkey panini, waffles and some avocado toast alongside cold brew, lemonade, orange juice and a matcha latte.
Revived by coffee and sandwiches, Overlook Mountain was up next.
Overlook Mountain Hike
Before adopting Zoe back in 2017, I always heard that Pugs typically weren’t the most athletic dogs and can tire easily due to their short snouts. Boy, has my Pug proved them wrong! Always two steps ahead of me—both literally and figuratively—Zoe led our four-member pack on Overlook Mountain’s 5-mile, round-trip hike.
Though less of a rocky footing than Kaaterskill Falls and more paved with gravel, the approach to Overlook Mountain’s peak was a bit more demanding. We had to pace ourselves to combat the steady incline, but the crisp air and dense fog filled us with whimsy and curiosity. And that sense of curiosity would not be disappointed!
Near the top of the overlook, we came across ruins from an abandoned hotel built in 1833. The once-premier attraction for the region’s tourism now is just a building’s remains overtaken by wilderness.
Behind the hotel was an old fire tower near a small path leading to the scenic overlook. Though we missed out on a clear view because of the fog, the look from the top peered down over the valley below.
The round-trip hike took us approximately three hours with some breaks along the way. Though a beautiful hike with a unique landmark to explore at the top, I’d definitely say that the steeper incline and further distance to the top made for a bit more ambitious of a hike than the Falls.
This hike, especially, is probably not one for a super sunny day as the heat beating down can make for a more challenging feat. Making sure that you rest along the way, staying hydrated and finding shade where possible are just a few of the ways to stay safe in the heat.
Lunch in Woodstock
After we made our way back down to the parking lot, we headed out to nearby Woodstock, New York, for some lunch to go. Bread Alone is a bakery and cafe that serves up artisan breads, sandwiches, soups, local pastries and coffee.
I warmed up with a cup of the chicken and rice soup on the small outdoor bench, then I indulged in a brownie and iced coffee for dessert. Danielle enjoyed the chicken tarragon sandwich. By the way, I’m still dreaming of that pastry and coffee combo, and I’m excited for the day I get to go back.
After lunch, we headed back to our cabins to feed the dogs and get cleaned up to go explore the town.
The town center of Catskill, New York, is only about 10 miles away from where we were staying. This quintessential small town along the Hudson is filled with charm, and the old storefronts and theater marquee only added to its character.
We explored Main Street before making our way to New York Restaurant’s cozy outdoor seating area to enjoy some Polish cuisine as the sun set on Day 2.
New York Restaurant’s authentic cuisine was incredible, and the dog-friendly outdoor seating made this stop a no-brainer for us. We started with a daily special appetizer—seasoned chips and guacamole—before I ordered the half chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables (which I cannot recommend highly enough).
We finished our meals and returned to our cabins to rest up in preparation for the last day of our mountain retreat. Though we didn’t make our way over to the Hudson River, it is only a short walk from downtown Catskill and would be perfect for pet parents wanting to go on an after-dinner, waterfront walk.
Dog-Friendly Cabin Getaway to Catskill, NY: Day 3
After my trip to Getaway Boston, I knew that I wanted to set aside more time to relax on this New York trip and take in the small moments throughout the day. So, for Day 3 of our getaway, I decided to sleep in and reflect on the sweet moments from my trip: the way the sunshine hit the trees before entering through the cabin’s windows, the way Zoe cuddled up on the queen-sized bed and would peek up at me without lifting her head, and the way the brisk morning air entered when we opened the door.
After lounging and reflecting for a bit, it was time to pack up for our 11 a.m. checkout. The process for leaving Getaway was simple—turn off the lights, grab your belongings, tidy up as much as you can and lock the door on your way out.
Once the car was packed and our cabins were behind us, we set forth to return to the city with some newfound balance and memories to look back on.
Dog-Friendly Trip Takeaways
My entire Getaway experience made me realize how accustomed I had become to constant stimulation: the apps on my smartphone endlessly refreshing, a computer screen flashing pictures on end, and a TV always humming in the background. My experience helped me realize how I don’t always appreciate silence. It made me want to live in the moment more.
After three days, I found I had become more comfortable with disconnecting from technology. It was easier for me to turn up the in-cabin radio and dance around with my dog rather than focusing on a screen or checking social media notifications.
If you live in the city that never sleeps and want to embark on your own dog-friendly cabin trip, Getaway is the perfect retreat from packed schedules, inbound emails and constantly buzzing phones.
Read about our other Getaway adventures:
Originally from Chicago, Nicole Janiga attended Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and received her Bachelor of Science in 2018 before making the big move down from the Windy City to the Sunshine State. She frequently enjoys going back to the Midwest to visit friends and family—and to cheer on the Hoosiers! In her free time, Nicole can be found traveling with her Pug @zoetheloaf (currently at 15 states, and counting) or riding her horse around Southwest Ranches.